Tag Archives: midrash

“Goodbye Ward & June”; American Family Values


Not everybody is political, artistic, an intellectual, or in to pop culture, but everybody has, or has had, a family. Come on out and discuss if the family is a good thing or if the family is still a relevant entity in today’s wired world.

“Goodbye Ward & June”; American Family Values. What does the American family look like today? Is there a norm for what families look like? Should there be a norm? Single-parent family, homosexual-parent families, broken families. Are families important…are they even relevant today?

Discussion free and open to absolutely everybody. Come on out, grab a brew, give your view, and lend an ear to others’.

Who: you and friends
What: Theology on the Rock
When: Wednesday (2/17), 7-9pm
Where: the oyster bar (3003 markham)
Why: because talking about these issues are fun and important

Midrash…commentary on culture since 2008

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Posted by on February 14, 2010 in midrash


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Theology on the Rock, Jan 20, 7pm

*spoiler alert, there are many, many hyperlinks contained within this email – your mouse and browser will get a workout.

So here it comes…the second coming of Theology on the Rock!  Since Midrash made its long-awaited return last Fall we’ve had: a coffee-shop discussion, and a film night.  Sensing the ground swell of interest about to peak we bring back Theology on the Rock.  I’ll simply point you to some blogs that you can read if you want to be brought up to speed about our new connection with Eikon church.

Midrash-The Second Coming

Announcing Midrash-Eikon Blog

So…now that you’re caught up to speed, here are the details of Theology on the Rock.

Who: you and your friends

What: Theology on the Rock* (formerly known as Theology on the Rocks – see below for explanation of name change)

When: Wednesday, January 20, 7:00pm-9:00ish-pm – we’ll discuss for about 1.5 hours and then people are free to stick around and discuss more with their friends

Where: Oyster Bar – new location we’re very excited about!  There is a full bar and full menu available that evening during the discussion.

Why: Because the topics we discuss are topics people enjoy discussing!  For those who shudder because of introverted tendencies, it is equally as fun to just come and listen too – you do not have to share your opinion…but we’d like you to do so.

Topic: “Church in America – R.I.P?” Theology on the Rock is about to become the best forum in Little Rock for discussing the thorniest issues of our day. January’s topic is, “Church in America R.I.P.?” What role does church play in American culture? What role should it play or not play? Is church relevant or just a relic; a help or a hindrance to a better life, city and country? Come grab a brew, give your religious or irreligious views, and lend an ear to others’. Free and open to absolutely everyone.

* Theology on the Rock – as a note; our event formerly known as “Theology on the Rocks” has changed it’s name to “Theology on the Rock” – see here for a quick run-down for why:  pomomusings blog So basically the twist with our new name is that we’re playing off the nick-name of Little Rock as “the Rock”.  If after this name change somebody decides to pursue something against us, then so be it.

Feel free to pass this email along to all your friends and we’ll see you next Wednesday, January 20th at 7pm!

– Midrash…commentary on culture


Posted by on January 12, 2010 in culture, midrash, theology


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midrash film night – “Capitalism, A Love Story”

I stole this from Eikon’s blog b/c I didn’t have a chance to write up something as succinct as Ryan and he can do snazzier graphics b/c he has a mac and I’m merely a pc user.  My next post will be why the mac subculture considers themselves godlike; but until then enjoy this post from a near-god Ryan.  😉

Eikon\’s blog


midrash film night presents michael moore’s capitalism: a love story Posted by Ryan Byrd

10.05.2009 7:31 pm     FILED UNDER announcements, culture, events, gatherings, movies Bookmark and Share

michael moore capitalism

i’m excited to announce the next midrash event—a film night—in which we will be viewing and discussing michael moore’s latest film, capitalism: a love story.

whether you love him or hate, moore keenly understands how to make a movie that demands lengthy discussion and hearty debate. in this movie, moore asks tough questions about our nation’s economic system and also proposes that some people hold capitalism in the same regards, if not higher, than their religion. considering moore’s other movies—sicko, fahrenheit 9/11 and bowling for columbine—this promises to be a very compelling movie.

interestingly, this movie has an even more compelling—theologically speaking—subplot than other moore films. apparently moore delves into matters of religion in the movie, asking whether or not capitalism is a sin. in a recent column on the huffington post, moore writes directly to “those of you on your way to church this morning”, saying,

I have come to believe that there is no getting around the fact that capitalism is opposite everything that Jesus (and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha) taught. All the great religions are clear about one thing: It is evil to take the majority of the pie and leave what’s left for everyone to fight over. Jesus said that the rich man would have a very hard time getting into heaven. He told us that we had to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly. He said that if you failed to house the homeless and feed the hungry, you’d have a hard time finding the pin code to the pearly gates.

so, this is sure to be a good conversation that should warrant insights into both theology and politics. here’s a few quick details.

we’ll gather at market street cinema this wednesday, october 7 where the movie starts at 7 p.m. (of course, you’ll want to get there a few minutes early to grab a cold beverage). it lasts a little over 2 hours and at its conclusion, we’ll head over a couple blocks to java roasting company to discuss what we’ve seen.

this should be a movie fit perfectly for a midrash film night, so don’t miss it! and invite a friend! see you there.

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Posted by on October 6, 2009 in politics, theology


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Midrash, Film Night

One of the nation’s, if not world’s, most provocative movie producers is touching an extremely volatile third rail in his newest movie,  \”Capitalsm, A Love Story\”.

In this movie Moore asks tough questions about our nation’s economic system and also proposes that some people hold capitalism in the same regards, if not higher, than their religion. Considering Moore’s other movies (“Sicko”, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, and “Bowling For Columbine”) this promises to be a very compelling movie.

How important is capitalism to you? How important is capitalism to our nation? Should capitalism be the economic system of our nation? How does capitalism affect our religious beliefs? Can you be a Christian and be a capitalist?  These questions and others will be discussed when we get together after the movie.

The exact start time for the evening is not officially set yet because Market Street Cinema has not released the show times for the movie. The plan is to watch the movie and then discuss it as a group afterward. We’ll either discuss the movie in Market Street Cinema or mosey a couple blocks east to Java Roasting Company.  Check out the blog for when we’ll meet at Market Street Cinema.

Come on out, grab a brew (yes, Market Street Cinema serves wine and beer!), share your view, and lend an ear to others’.

How Important is Capitalism To You?

How Important is Capitalism To You?

…midrash, commentary on culture

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Posted by on October 1, 2009 in politics, theology


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Midrash – the second coming

We are extremely excited to partner with Eikon Church and re-launch Midrash here in Little Rock.  Our first get together is a coffee shop discussion and our subject will be about social media and how it affects social capital. (read below for specific details about when and where)  This topic should be at least a little interesting to you b/c blogging is an aspect of social media and right now you are choosing to read my blog instead of giving blood…unless, you are reading my blog on your phone while giving blood in which at least our social capital breaks even (think about the implications of that statement haha)

I digress…read below about midrash for why and what it is and also about our first event since joining up with Eikon church…………

Midrash is a Hebrew word that—when roughly translated—means “commentary.” We’ve taken the word Midrash as the title for our group and created an avenue for people from all walks of life to get together and discuss pertinent topics that impact our lives, our culture, our city, our state, our nation and our world.


With Midrash—and Eikon—we value engaging culture to show that God’s truth is evident everywhere. The main crux of the issue is that we realize the Bible isn’t an authority for everyone and as such, we want to be involved in different happenings that show how God’s truth intersects everyday life. As a community of Jesus followers, we need to find ways to engage culture in a compelling manner and meet people where they are both spiritually and socially.

Art—of all forms—is a major influencer in our culture, so we base a lot of our gatherings around different art forms. But, we don’t envision a bunch of high-brow art critics standing around sipping dry martinis. 🙂 We’re very ordinary people who enjoy fun and lively discussions about all sorts of topics (and you can even choose your own beverage…).

We host various types of gatherings including the following: coffee shop discussions, film nights, art gallery viewings and the occasional large panel forum. The main types of gatherings, though, are large group discussions in which we throw out a culturally relevant topic and allow for open conversation, facilitated by a moderator. Topics in the past have ranged from violence in the U.S. to animal rights to racism in Little Rock. Our discussions are held at local restaurants, coffee shops or bars—places that are able to accommodate group discussions.

No doubt, people want to talk about the topics we discuss, but just haven’t had the opportunity. We want to provide that opportunity! Our group is open to all kinds of people: religious, irreligious, atheists, nihilists, spiritual, and non-spiritual…everybody.

Does all this sound familiar? Midrash isn’t, in fact, new to Little Rock. You may know that we took a bit of an extended break over the last fews months. We’re excited to say that Eikon is now sponsoring Midrash, as we think Midrash and Eikon make a perfect marriage. The core principles of Midrash are the same ones that guide the Eikon community. So, we’re now refocused and excited to get things going again!


We’ll return with a coffee shop discussion on Wednesday, September 9 at The House (in Hillcrest)(check their website for address and subsequent directions) from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30ish p.m. (NOTE: Midrash gatherings will change locations and times from month to month.)

We’ll be discussing the role of social media in our lives, spawning from the book, “Bowling Alone” by Robert D. Putnam. (NOTE: By all means, reading the book has no bearing on your level of participation. It certainly is not a prerequisite for attending and engaging in the conversation. It’s simply a jumping point for a broader conversation.) By plugging into our computers and phones, are we unplugging from each other? Is our social capital as a nation declining or improving as a result of these technological innovations? Is it just a passing fad or is it a step towards our society becoming more reclusive?

Bowling Alone

Midrash is a welcome place for respectful discussions and we hope you’ll come out, grab a brew, share your view and lend an ear to others’.

(Not only do we just enjoy the social and personal growth aspect of Midrash, but we also think there’s a Biblical connection. Check out the following passages of Scripture: Acts 17: 16-34, Matthew 6: 10, II Corinthians 3: 16-18, Genesis 1: 26-28. These verses speak of God’s calling for us to redeem creation through him.)

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Posted by on August 31, 2009 in theology


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Sunday night (8/30) at The House in Hillcrest – 6:00-8:00pm

This is the church that Midrash Little Rock will be connected with. If you’re a fan of Midrash Little Rock you should come on out and grab some food, a tasty beverage of your choice, and hang out with us.

I swiped this from Ryan Byrd and eikon’s website:


i’m excited to announce our upcoming spectacle/shindig/gathering (it’s your choice of the 3 words…we’re all about free will at eikon…) for august. on sunday, august 30, at 6 p.m., we’ll be hanging out at the house—the great new addition to hillcrest—engaging in a conversation that we’re calling EIKON | WHY: a conversation about yesterday.

why is it a conversation about yesterday?

  1. 1. we like to use really intriguing-yet-bordering-on-pretentious titles for our gatherings.
  2. 2. we want to encourage the spontaneous singing of the beatles’ yesterday, being that we currently lack a solid british element at eikon. (we also encourage the boyz 2 men cover version of yesterday, being that it includes exponentially more “oohs” and “uhhs” and probably includes a spoken word part by an otherwise under-utilized bass singer…)
  3. 3. (seriously), we’re all experts on yesterday. we just lived it and need to process it. knowing the what of our past speaks to the why of our present/future.
  4. 4. we think your yesterday story is probably much closer to others’ stories than you think and thus, closer to the story of why we’re starting this thing called eikon.

ok, well, we are now equally confused and intrigued. how about yourself?

in the event that you find yourself confused and/or intrigued, you should definitely come hang out with us on sunday, august 30 at the house. our conversation about why we’re starting eikon will be a great entry point if you couldn’t make it to our gathering at vino’s last month and likewise, a great conversational entry point for those who have already been hanging out with us.

here’s the quick minutiae of the gathering. try to be there fairly close to 6 p.m.. we’re working with the chef to create a special menu for us that will give you a choice of 5 entrees and your choice of any of their beverages (beer, wine, coffees, soft drinks). just to be clear, eikon isn’t picking up the tab, but we think you’ll find the menu reasonably priced (and well worth it). instead of the usual ordering downstairs, go ahead and come upstairs, grab a seat and they’ll do service at the tables. we’ll spend the first hour just eating/drinking and hanging out. we’ve reserved a small room to the right upstairs, but during the first hour of dinner, feel free to sit anywhere upstairs. around 7 or so, we’ll transition into our conversation into the smaller room (where people might have to squeeze in, stand, lean, squat or engage in other means of fitting a large mass into a small space).

my (ryan) goal is to talk a little and listen a lot (though I can often be more successful in the reverse scenario…). i’ll intro the conversation and serve as a guide, but my hope is that the conversation will revolve around the group rather than myself.

NOTE TO THE INTROVERTS WHO ARE CRINGING AND DRY HEAVING RIGHT NOW (which actually includes myself, in terms of the introvert personality type): because I can certainly empathize, you don’t need to worry about being called on, called out or singled out. it’s your choice about how much or how little you contribute to the conversation. while we encourage active participation, we want to honor the fact that everyone engages in different ways. some do it by talking, while some do it by listening. so, please discontinue your dry heaving…no need to panic…you’re in good hands with eikon. 🙂

alright, that’s the story. come hang out with us. if you’ve hung out with us before, be sure to come again and if you haven’t been able to come or have been hesitant to come, this is a great entry point. (we’re a friendly bunch, despite our generally hairy, frightening exteriors…)

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Posted by on August 29, 2009 in theology


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…playing frogger with a nebulous endline…

ol school video games

old school video game

So it’s springtime in Arkansas which means alot of rain…and I do mean alot.  Just this past Sunday (Easter Sunday) I got soaked on my way into church…a new church that I was visiting.  More on that in a second.

Right now, it’s late and I’m sitting in my living room enjoying a nice cabernet sauvignon, listening to the Grateful Dead, Jim Croce, and Bob Dylan (among others), occasionally glancing down and to my right at a Krakauer book that is begging me to pick it up and knowing that when I do pick it up it never betrays me into boredom – although I’m only about 30 pages in it’s a very compelling read.  I’m also thinking about alot of things/issues going on in my life right now.  Let’s see…I have a perplexing insecurity about my job even though last month I hit 118% to goal.  I now find myself not leading midrash which is something I brought to Arkansas from St. Louis (where it was wildly successful, and in this instance # of people showing up does not constitute success, although there were bunches of people showing up) and lastly, well not really lastly, but the last I’m willing to discuss in the blogosphere is that I am also looking for a new church home…which is corollary back to the previous mentioned item of midrash leadership.  The church I was attending and I have a difference of opinion in some theological matters, which for sake of brevity I will not go into.   The leadership of this church and I realized that our visions and ‘needs’ are heading in different directions and to respect each other we need to part ways. It was a mutual decision we both agreed upon and I’m fine with this and actually the leader and I are still friends.  What surprised me and honestly perturbed me was his decision to retain midrash and theology on the rocks at his church.  Maybe it’s an issue of pride, but maybe it’s also my concern that midrash/theology on the rocks will take on a form which mimics this church’s values which are some of the reasons that concerned me enough to not remain at the church. Not that their values are necessarily wrong, because they’re not, but midrash and theology on the rocks is a different bird in that it needs special leadership to have it’s mission plug along in a  proper, functional, compelling manner. Granted, there is not a midrash/theology on the rocks manual for how to do things correctly, but there are, in my mind, easily identifiable things not to do which might not be as easily identified to others.  Beyond that it basically boils down to the fact that I’m upset in the leader’s desire to retain midrash and theology on the rocks when truth be told it was my brainchild to start these two things in Little Rock. And honestly, I’m not happy about the decision and he’s aware of my feelings because we had a long respectful conversation about this but at the end we both disagreed.  At the same time I won’t bitch and moan about it b/c I have enough other friends who are eager to start something of our own whether or not it’s under a new banner or not. So we shall see what the future holds for ‘midrash’.

Because of all of these issues colliding all at once at terminal velocity I feel as if I’m playing frogger with a nebulous endline of where I’m supposed to end up.  But you know what…in my adventurous, analytical spirit…it’s also kind of fun. Maybe it’s more like Q-bert and I need to labor to try and make it to the top…I always liked Q-bert better anyway…and plus I had a sleeping bag with Q-bert on it.

“Perhaps we had become a little arrogant with our fine new technique of ice-claw and rubber slipper, our age of easy mechanical conquest.  We had forgotten that the mountain still holds the mastercard, that it will grant success only in its own good time.” – Eric Shipton “Upon That Mountain”

pimpin the Q-bert

pimpin' the Q-bert

Ok, cigar suggestion.  This past weekend I went with some buddies to Cregeen’s and I had a Rocky Patel, ‘The Edge’ and I must say it was a very good cigar. It’s a maduro if not bordering on robusto.  And it was a very smooth cigar – it was about $7 if my memory serves me.

The wine I’m enjoying while I write this is Root 1 – it’s a cabernet sauvignon from Argentina.  It’s fruit forward, spicy, smooth velvety finish but also enough tannins to remain true to it’s cab grapes. It was $11.99 – a very good wine.


Posted by on April 13, 2009 in Uncategorized


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Midrash – it’s not a disease

This is an essay I wrote about Midrash for Shane’s email update for the River (our church).  The article appeared a little different in the email because of some revisions.  Personally, I prefer it without the revisions because I’m very particular in the words I choose.  This short essay details what Midrash is and why it is a natural outpouring of my personality – I love engaging people in compelling conversations.  Enjoy.

quick cigar recommendation – La Flor Dominicana – good smooth smoke. Available in mild and maduro selections.

For many centuries the church was a skillful potter shaping culture in regards to politics, the arts, education, and public commentary. Only recently has the church withdrawn from that craft and now views our culture with an “Us versus Them” mentality believing there is no hope for our culture. At the River Community Church we believe that line of thought runs contrary to God’s will and we do not believe it is “Us versus Them”. Instead, we believe we need to be integrated into our culture and redeem our culture for God’s glory. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” – Matthew 6: 10. The main crux of the issue is as Christians we need to find ways to engage our culture in a compelling manner that makes sense and meets people where they are spiritually and socially.

Midrash. Such a quirky sounding word that most people think means some sort of contracted disease requiring a prescription for an antibiotic. Thank goodness that is not what it means. It is actually a Hebrew word that roughly means “commentary”. Our desire within Midrash is to engage various aspects of our culture in regards to the arts, media, politics, education etc and Midrash is the organization for different events that we hold under the umbrella of The River Community Church. Some of our events include: Theology on the Rocks, film nights, coffee shop discussions, art gallery viewings, and large panel forums. For example; at Theology on the Rocks we take what we believe to be compelling topics such as, violence in America, the pursuit of happiness, animal rights, and racism in Little Rock and host them in different restaurants and bars in Little Rock. It is held in a separate dining room to accommodate a group discussion and this allows people to share their thoughts and opinions on the topic. People want to talk about these topics but just have not had the opportunity. We provide the opportunity.

None of our events take place in a church building; primarily because Midrash exists for people who would never step foot in a church. We approach this in a manner similar to when Paul was in Athens (Acts 17: 16-34). When Paul was with the people he spoke to them in a context they understood and they appreciated which helped him build credibility. To the men in the synagogue and marketplace he held respectful, intelligent conversations and reasoned with them. To the idol worshippers in the Areopagus he spoke to them about who and why they worship what they worship. In Midrash, we realize the Bible is not an authority for people who do not believe in God and as such we want to be credible and speak to people about who and why they worship what they worship. To show them how their truth relates to God’s truth.

Basically, Midrash is at the heart of The River Community Church because we want to reach people where something inside them is stirring but they are not making a connection as to what is stirring (2 Corinthians 3: 16-18). Midrash recognizes that God’s people and creation are beautiful and at the same time fallen and we are called by God to redeem his creation for his glory (Genesis 1: 26-28). Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Uncategorized


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